Iranians stand in front of a bank, hoping to buy U.S. dollar at the official rate announced by the government, in downtown Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (AP)

January 19, 2019

The chairman of Iranian parliament’s economic commission says that $3.5 billion dollars of cheap foreign currency was handed out to importers, but nothing has been brought to the country.

The Iranian government gives cheap dollars to importers to purchase essential goods for the country and they must import whatever they had originally submitted in their currency requests.

Mohammad Reza Poor-Ebrahimi told the state TV on January 17 that out of $14 billion dollars given to importers since March 21, 2018, $3.5 billion is unaccounted for.

He added that 4,200 court cases have been launched but did not say what is the status of the investigation into these cases.

While since March 2018 the U.S. dollar skyrocketed in Iran, the government fixed a much lower exchange rate for importers. As the dollar reached 100,000 rials and more, the state was selling dollars to importers for 42,000 rials.

Law enforcement and judicial officials have often spoken of arrests and legal cases against people involved with foreign currencies and the import business.

Last summer, officials claimed that an official website for placing car import requests was “hacked” and five thousand expensive vehicles were imported with government supplied cheap dollars.

However, there is not much detail about the progress of most investigations into government foreign currency cases.

RFE/RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.